Meat & Livestock News

Progress on the 2023 Farm Bill

TL;DR: The 2023 Farm Bill progresses, aiming to strengthen safety nets and maintain SNAP funding, with final approval potentially delayed until 2025 due to political complexities.

Update from Washington

The 2023 Farm Bill is finally making significant progress. House Agriculture Committee Chair Glenn Thompson announced that a draft of the bill should be ready before the Memorial Day holiday.

Key Features of the Draft

Thompson assured reporters that the draft strengthens farm safety net programs while preserving funding for the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP). It does not divert funds from the Inflation Reduction Act (IRA). Instead, the draft integrates IRA subsidies specifically for conservation programs.

Debate Over SNAP Adjustments

A major debate within the Bill involves the Thrifty Food Plan, crucial in setting SNAP benefits. The Biden administration’s early adjustments increased SNAP benefits by 40 pence per meal, equating to an additional annual spend of nearly £30 billion on nutrition. Reverting the Thrifty Food Plan to its original budget would redirect funds to other bill areas, explained Thompson.

Senate’s Response

The Senate Agriculture Committee is yet to schedule their Farm Bill draft. They intend to wait for the House’s approval of its version before proceeding.

Next Steps

Post-approval by the House and Senate, a conference committee will merge the two versions into a unified bill. This must then gain approval from both chambers before the president can sign it into law.

Extension of the 2018 Bill

The current Farm Bill was extended for a year by Congress, pushing its expiration to September 30, 2024. Given the complexities of an election year, analysts speculate that the 2023 Farm Bill might not pass until 2025.